By popular demand, the U.M. law library has put up a (too short) web page about Soia Mentschikoff. Soia was UM's Dean 1974-1982, and died in 1984. She's credited for having set the law school on its modern course as a serious academic institution.
I never met her, but her ghost still stalks the halls, at least metaphorically as our now-senior faculty were her young hires and mostly awed by her, and I've heard so many stories about her from the colleagues that I almost feel like I knew her.
Among my favorite stories are that, ur-legal realist that she was, Soia never bothered to get a drivers' license—although she drove like a maniac.
And then there's the one about filing a building plan that showed our courtyard as a parking lot, without which the city would not have allowed construction to begin on the law buildings. But the quad was then enclosed and nary a spot left for cars. When the building inspector from the city refused to give a certificate of occupancy, Soia supposedly told him that the mayor was cutting the ribbon next week at a ceremony, and did the inspector want to be responsible for calling it off? He caved. The same source swears that Soia then stiffed the contractor…